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20th Century Slang People Rarely Use Nowadays

 Some words in the English language have barely changed over the course of centuries, whereas others didn’t manage to withstand the test of time. Slang words and phrases are among the least resilient of all. Think of them like fashion that comes and goes, and to be fashionable, you have to be up-to-date on what words are still relevant, and which ones are already considered "dated".
But even if you're not about the latest English language trends, it's still a fun exercise to learn or remind yourself of a few interesting and often quite peculiar words. Unfortunate or not, these 15 twentieth-century slang terms haven’t made the cut to the modern vocabulary, and have all definitely gone completely out of style these days.

1. Monet

irrelevant slang monet painting 'Meules' by Claude Monet (1890)
'Meules' by Claude Monet (1890)
Meaning: This specific term is quite inventive and clever, and we must understand a bit of classic European art to wrap our heads around the slang word. The peculiarity of Monet's paintings, as well as the paintings of many other impressionist artists, is that the artwork becomes clear only when viewed from a distance, but from up close, it may not seem so beautiful.
The clever American high school girls of the 1990's drew a similarity between the famous Impressionist's art and, surprise surprise - good looks, calling those people who only look attractive from a distance, but are less beautiful or handsome upon closer inspection "monets".
Example Sentence: "Angela talked to Mike today, and she said he's is only hot from afar and a total monet."
 

2. I heard that!

irrelevant slang three men sitting on the floor and discussing something serious
Meaning: If you complain to someone and hear "I heard that" as a reply, it may sound quite puzzling. Don't be surprised, you've encountered a rare slang phrase that means that the person wholeheartedly agrees with you and uses this phrase to express empathy towards you.
Example Sentence: "Women today are a lot more educated and independent than they were in the past century." - "I heard that!"

3. Talk to the Hand

irrelevant slang hand holding a vintage phone
Meaning: This phrase is associated with 1990's teens, and it likely originated as a sarcastic remark, pointing out that one does not want to listen to the person who is speaking. It's an expression of annoyance and basically means "shut up", and boy was it annoying and rude. It's definitely great to find out that it's no longer in use...
Example Sentence: "I don't have any idea; I tried to ask him and all he did was shout "talk to the hand" back at me until I left the room" (Oxford Dictionary).
 

4. Flip Your Wig

irrelevant slang selection of colorful wigs
Meaning: There is some speculation that this phrase comes from the 18th century, the century when tall, white, powdered wigs officially ruled western Europe. The phrase supposedly referred to ladies and lords bowing to their superiors so low it would make their tall wigs fall, but according to linguistic records, the first mention of this phrase is from the less distant year of 1952, when it meant "react very strongly" to good or bad news.
Example Sentence: "Janis had to talk to her boss about an unfinished project yesterday, and the man completely flipped his wig."
 

5. All That and a Bag of Chips

irrelevant slang  a Bag of Chips
Image Source: Marco Verch/ Flickr
Meaning: Back in the days when awareness of nutrition was by far not as accessible and widespread as it is now and chips were the pinnacle of snack foods - the early 1990s, that is - being called "all that and a bag of chips" was a popular compliment. To rephrase, the saying meant that something is even better than excellent, or described someone who was far superior to their peers.
Example Sentence: "She may be all that, but I'm all that and a bag of chips!" (Online Slang Dictionary)
 

6. Yada Yada

irrelevant slang seinfeld cast
Meaning: When we think of memes - all those funny and often obscure pictures we see on the internet - we typically associate them with the age of internet culture, but anthropologists are convinced that people used memes and references to popular culture a lot earlier than the early 2000s, and here is a great example.
The extremely successful 1990s TV series 'Seinfeld' made the phrase 'yada yada' explode. The phrase has definitely existed before, essentially meaning "etc. etc." or "long story short". The famous standup comedian Lenny Bruce was the first person recorded to have used it in 1961, but it was the comedy sitcom brought it to the mainstream, if only for a few years, as it turns out.
Example Sentence: "Well, we were engaged to be married, we bought the wedding invitations and yada yada yada… I'm still single!" - George Costanza (Jason Alexander, 'Seinfeld', season 8, episode 19)
 

7. Razz my Berries

irrelevant slang happy woman listening to music in headphones
Meaning: While the literal interpretation of this phrase is essentially gibberish, linguists know that this slang phrase was all the rage in the 1950s, and it just means that you really admire or get excited about something.
Example Sentence: "Listening to 'All I Have to Do Is Dream' by The Everly Brothers really razzes my berries."

8. Veg Out

irrelevant slang woman laying in bed covering her head with a book
Meaning: If you just want to be a couch potato and lay in bed all day procrastinating and being lazy, what you intend to do is "veg out". Interestingly, both "couch potato" and "veg out" have the same roots, referring to the mental incapacity of a lazy person similar to a vegetable. The phrase is suggested to have originated in the 1990s and popularized by the film 'Pretty Woman' starring Julia Roberts.
Example Sentence: "I intend to do only one thing this weekend, and it is to veg out on the couch."

9. Fat City

irrelevant slang successful person
Meaning: I don't know about you, but most people wouldn't be so thrilled to hear that they're on their way to fat city nowadays, as most would probably assume you're insulting them. However, this phrase was actually meant as a compliment in the 1950s, and it meant that you're a very successful person, whose life is evolving and thriving. Still, it's definitely understandable why this phrase has gone out fashion, given that the word 'fat' has such a negative connotation.
Example Sentence: "Maggie and George just got married and they already purchased a house in a prestigious neighborhood. Those two are on their way to fat city!"
 


10. Come on snake, let's rattle

irrelevant slang
Meaning: This is another one of those equally fun and strange phrases from the 1950s. Interestingly, this phrase seems to be used both as a dance invitation (for a woman) and a challenge to fight (to a man). 
Example Sentence: "Can I have this dance? Come on snake, let's rattle!"

11. Bread

irrelevant slang US dollars closeup
Meaning: Dough, bread, gravy, chips - all of these are slang synonyms for money. We're sad to see that bread is slowly going out of fashion, as this very word has a very fun etymology. It is believed that it originally came from English Cockney Rhyming Slang: “Bread and Honey” meaning Money. The word 'breadwinner' is suggested to have the same etymology.
Example Sentence: "I really need some bread to afford that stunning dress."

12. Germsville

irrelevant slang woman with a stuffy nose
Meaning: What happens when you get a really bad cough and you're in the 1950s? Well, of course, you go to the hospital, but you wouldn't call it that because it's boring. Instead, one would pay a visit to "Germsville", which is kind of true, but also sounds somewhat disgusting, and hence very discouraging for those who actually have to go to the doctor. 
Example Sentence: "If you don't take good care of yourself, you'll end up in Germsville in no time."

13. Fo' shizzle

irrelevant slang Snoop Dogg
Meaning: We're not gonna lie, we're really glad to see this one go, since this particular hip-hop slang word was painfully overused for the past 20 years... As you may or may not know, it's just another way of saying “for sure”, and the term was popularized by rap artist Snoop Dogg. 
Example Sentence: "Fo' shizzle, man, I love the cinema."

14. Fang Factory

irrelevant slang dentist's visit
Meaning: Now, this subtle vampire reference makes us think that whoever invented the term had no idea what's going at the dentist's office. But we also commend the attempt to fight the reality of the painful tooth procedures with humor, it was a good one!
Example Sentence: "I've had a toothache for the past few days, I have to make my way to the fang factory."

15. Brick House

irrelevant slang man complimenting a woman
Meaning: Now, this is a really 'original' way of calling a woman attractive. We're guessing that by calling someone a "brick house" you mean that they're put together well, but we also doubt that anyone would enjoy being called a brick house these days, so it's understandable why this 1977 slang term fell out of people's favor quite fast.
Example Sentence: "That chick is a brick house." (Urban Dictionary)
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